Focus issues

Each year, ASA releases a list of issues it will focus on throughout the year. ASA's focus issues applicable to the 2021 financial year are:

Directors and Boards

Boards should comprise directors with diverse skills including at least one with direct experience in the relevant industry who are able to independently evaluate executive proposals. There should be a meaningful skills matrix including skills required in its strategic plan.

Each director’s workload should allow the director to devote adequate time and attention to the role and company, allowing both the formal requirements to be adequately met and in addition attain a deep understanding of the business and requirements of key stakeholders.

Remuneration and performance

The impact of COVID-19 on companies and their executive remuneration should be examined. Companies should give close consideration to repaying Government-funded COVID-19 payments before rewarding executives or paying dividends.

A remuneration framework should not be adjusted upwards on a discretionary basis to compensate selected executives for a company missing performance hurdles. Boards should review their company remuneration outcomes for long-term incentives (LTIs) issued during 2020 that have been in the money shortly after issue and reduce outcomes if appropriate.

Risk management

We expect directors to identify, manage and communicate financial, cybersecurity and non-financial risks including ESG and its implications for financing capital requirements.

Shareholder communication and fairness in capital raisings

We expect retail shareholders will be treated proportionately and fairly in capital raisings when compared with institutional shareholders.

Shareholders should have a clear option to receive communications by mail. We strongly encourage companies to trial hybrid AGMs.

For further information, please consult the ASA voting guidelines

Last updated March 2021